Shallow-deep stories: The Mask (Courage the Cowardly Dog)

I?ve recently regained my love of cartoons?? not that I ever lost it, really?? because I started watching them under a new light. And even ?kids shows? turn out to be quite deep and harsh if you ask yourselves ?what did the writers clearly wanted to state here but they couldn?t because they need to keep it mild??

As the internet says: ?the answer might surprise you.?

This may become a small series of mine because there?s so much I want to say, but I?ve got nothing planned. If you are interested, send me some words of encouragement.

Courage the Cowardly Dog: The Mask

I?ll go full blunt with you here: this is a story about a forbidden lesbian relationship, an abusive relationship, dysfunctional marriages and how the heteronormative view does not help, but cishet people can still help.

You can watch the episode first (use an adblocker) or look at my description, whatever you prefer. In my personal experience, there is so much I missed until someone shed some light on it, so maybe read me first?

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The plot

Courage is sitting around until a strange character with a mask comes in and mumbles ?all dogs are evil?, and bashes him to pieces. Muriel apparently doesn?t care and just invites them to tea.

The lady in the mask explains that she?s been kicked out of her home and her social environment. She?s ?on the wrong side of the tracks? and that MadDog took her friend Bunny as her girlfriend so that she and her could not be ?best friends?.

I don?t know you guys but this started out pretty obvious. She?s a lesbian, been kicked out of her place for being so, her girlfriend either preferred to be with someone else or was forced into a relationship (you know, you have to prove you?re straight someone if you don?t want to be kicked out and exiled).

The ?all dogs are evil? now makes sense: it?s a analogy to how some LGBT+ members will hate hetero men for the general sexism. That being true or not doesn?t really matter: it?s how she feels. In her experience, all dogs are evil and they took everything she loved and everything she was away from her.

Muriel and Eustace don?t get it. ?Why don?t you take out your mask and face reality?? Oh yeah, why don?t you come out of the closet and tell everyone who you are? Things will surely go well for you, right? Not like you?ve been completely witchhunted by everyone you trusted, right?

Courage does not get it either: he?s just scared because she?s creepy and mysterious and she hates his guts. (I?ll give him that.) His only concern is getting her away so nobody else gets hurt. It doesn?t really matter what happens to her?? he even fantasizes in turning her in to the police.

Oh, by the way, did I mention she explicitly said she was threatened with her life not to be seen with her girlfriend again?

She calls Muriel and Eustace on their bullshit about ways in which they are lying on each other. This is a children?s show do they keep it mild: she eats sweets while he doesn?t look and he really doesn?t fix the stuff at home and still brags about it.

Courage only thinks in getting her out and spies in her while she?s alone in her room. Did that sound creepy? Good.

She comes out of her costume and it?s Kitty, playing with a small toy mouse. I bet they couldn?t make her cry in desperation here but she so wanted to.

Courage steals it and sees that has written ?From Bunny to Kitty?. He goes off to find her and a random rat confirms the story Kitty told was true. Courage goes forward to find Bunny.

While all of this is happening, Courage at no point thinks about doing something nice for Bunny or Kitty. His sole motivation is preventing Kitty from doing anything to him or Muriel or Eustace.

You read this? He doesn?t give a shit on helping an exiled traumatized lesbian and her trapped girlfriend, he just wants his own business back to normal. If this is not a political comment, I don?t know what is.

He finds Bunny and she?s stuck very deep in an unhappy, toxic, abusive relationship. His boyfriend (MadDog) even plays out the ?if you?re thinking of Kitty I?ll kill you? and then the ?everything?s going to be fine? thing. Like abusers in real life do: they play with your feelings, they make you believe they?re on your side, but they?re manipulating you.

She tried to escape and doesn?t make it. He and two other dogs catch her and ?bury her? as he threatened. God, I don?t want to talk about what this might represent, but the very very lesser though is a fucked up beating session.

Courage gets in and tries to get her out (she?s buried in a plant pot? idk, they couldn?t show anything serious I guess), and they escape. Note that Kitty doesn?t trust Courage (?oh no, not another dog!?) but later does when he shows her Kitty?s toy.

They get out, MadDog discovers them and straight out goes to murder them both by crashing his car on them. (I?m not making this up you guys.)

Courage helps her get away and makes him crash face first into a train. They later show him all dumbed up being taken by the train, and that?s me thinking ?they couldn?t kill him on TV?.

In the last wagon is Kitty, who got out of the home, because Courage had locked her up. Can you imagine the desperation? She got everything taken from her, only to be found by strangers, taken her last memory away from her and told to ?face reality? and locked her up in an attic. This is seriously fucked up.

Bunny sees Kitty and catches up the train, explaining to Kitty that ?that dog saved my life?.

?I was wrong, not all dogs are evil.? (#NotAllMen) ?Now we can be best friends forever.?

While this happened, back at home Muriel and Eustace are ?fighting? (very mildly) because they don?t trust each other anymore. They even ?insult? each other. ?You can?t fix it, can you?? ?Oh, don?t you want some chocolate.? Their marriage is falling apart.

Eventually they help each other out and they forgive each other. ?Nobody?s perfect?, declares Eustace as they hug.

The ending

Does that feel like a bittersweet ending? It freaking is: nothing was really ?solved?, we all just got to live another day and move on. Muriel and Eustace go back to their lives and try to push forward. They didn?t really help or understand their troubled guest. Courage goes back to his routine, no more worries for him. Bunny and Kitty move elsewhere, with new hopes but no real solutions.

And that?s how life for a majority of LGBT members is today. Understood by no one and pushed around by the flimsiness of the world around them. Sometimes for good, sometimes not.

The moral

Don?t be like that.

Don?t be Courage and help others just because it?s good for you.

Don?t be Muriel and Eustace and think your very obvious solution is something others are not seeing. They?re world is more complex than you think.

Be honest with your loved ones, trust is difficult to build and awful simple to destroy.

Don?t be MadDog, of course. Do I need to explain this one?

Don?t be Bunny. Know the signs of an unhealthy relationship and get away from it as soon as possible. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Don?t be Kitty. Don?t hate every single person because of a bad experience, but rather learn to know who you can trust. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Be yourself and be safe.

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